The new era post-pandemic has accelerated all industries into a dynamic momentum driven by the desperation of recovering from the current situation, the highly demanding customers, the highly competitive market, and organizational growth objectives. The current working methodologies may not be effective in better utilization of the employee resource and optimizing the present resources and systems becoming the main priority.
There arises the need for strong, effective, and precise effort optimization methodologies that can accelerate the process allowing the workforce to concentrate on core business functions. This is where exactly where technological experts like Vartul Mittal catalyze business organizations by infusing the vital power of intelligent automation. He has developed expertise in identifying the business function and formulating technological solutions that quickly support repetitive, mundane tasks, thereby enhancing the employees’ potential.
As the Head of Intelligent Automation Solutions in Sutherland, Vartul has been a seasoned digital transformation and technology leader offering customized digital automation solutions by automating tedious and time-consuming tasks increasing efficiency, reducing human errors, and freeing up employees to work on other things.
In an engaging rendezvous with the CIOLOOK India team, Vartul unfolded his professional journey, his early inspirations, and the business values and ethics nurtured. He further elaborated on the challenges faced and countered his advice for young professionals and his vision for the future.
Please tell us about the saga of your digital transformation business leadership from the beginning.
As leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about the impact, influence, and inspiration that we generate; I thankfully started my leadership building very young.
Today besides being recognized as one of the Top 40 under 40 Data Scientists and Top 100 Emerging CIOs in India, I have been successful in driving large-scale enterprise-wide Digital Transformation Programs leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Analytics. While building and maximizing efficiency in delivering Customer Experience and driving data-driven decisions, I have been an expert advisor to 50+ CXOs from Fortune 500 Organizations.
Past 16 plus years of hands-on client-facing experience at a senior management level leading mid to large-sized geographically distributed Engineering and Professional Services Team has provided me the opportunity to play the leadership roles of setting up new practices and growing them to large member organizations.
Being an avid learner with a strong background in leveraging technology for enabling enterprises, I have leveraged a collaborative leadership style in driving CXO engagements, strengthening relationships with key stakeholders, handling IT financials, monitoring budgets, and ensuring cost control. This has helped me to be a team builder and mentor, leading cross-functional teams and developing capabilities of technology teams in achieving functional and business objectives.
What was your inspiration behind being a distinguished business leader in the technology solutions domain?
There is no perfect way to get inspiration. It is profoundly personal and originates from what is important to you and what runs you. But no matter where you find it, it is often an essential part of what keeps you going when times get tough.
I think what encourages me the most is our customers’ feedback. I specifically set aside time to gather customer feedback and outlooks; reading the positive testimonials, of course, is remarkable, but I also get a lot of value from the things that we can improve on. Through these customer interactions, I get inspired to do things better, change things and develop technology solutions based on that feedback. That inspires me every day.
What were the initial challenges that you had to surmount to ensure your business’s success rate reached greater heights?
The initial challenges that we had to surmount to ensure our business’s success rate reached greater heights was primarily the hiring of the right talent. Skills and abilities are important not just for your business to endure but for its expansion. Recognizing the specific abilities you require – as well as exactly how to obtain those crucial individuals aboard– could be the identifying consider just how well your business unit grows. Hold-ups in discovering the best employees are expensive.
For a small group, the employment procedure consumes important time that could be invested in various other resources of the business, yet on the other hand, not having the right people can produce extreme bottlenecks and also delay the rollout of new products or services. This is one of the issues that no business unit can afford, particularly in the early days.
What leadership skills, values, and qualities do you think your clients admire in you the most?
The four key qualities that are most admired by my clients are –
- Be self-aware and prioritize personal development
Successful leaders focus on developing their emotional intelligence. Leaders that work to cultivate this quality are more adaptive and resilient and receive feedback from others. They also perform active listening, are open to change, and are adept at effective communication.
Set goals, prioritize goals, and take responsibility for accomplishing them by focusing on the large picture, preventing distractions, and don’t get bogged down by small, tactical aspects. Practice these behaviors to stimulate effective management of your time and attention.
Preserve awareness of your strengths, weaknesses, and any possible sources of bias that may influence your thinking and decision-making. Perform self-assessments, seek feedback from your team, and set development goals with measurable targets in areas where you have room to expand.
- Focus on developing others
This leadership quality builds on the principles of the situational leadership theory, which proposes that efficient leaders adjust to whether an individual or group is ready, willing, and able to take a certain action. Delegating, coaching, and mentoring are essential tasks for situational leadership.
Recruit and expand a team with diverse skills and backgrounds and give the team members the tools and the space to develop trust among each other.
As a coach, demonstrate empathy as a strength. Efficient leaders know how to be assertive and kind at the same time.
Delegating responsibility can be harder than accomplishing the task yourself, but it permits you to see what a team is competent in doing. Completing difficult tasks helps a team build confidence and maintain its path to growth.
- Encourage strategic thinking, innovation, and action
As a leader, you must look forward. You must think about where the organization is going.
Leaders must respect internal organizational factors, such as product roadmaps and staffing needs, as well as external factors, including government regulations and technology advancement, when making strategic business decisions.
Retain a flexible mindset and be willing to try new ideas. This is particularly valid for leaders at fresh setups, where company goals are frequently changing, and rigid plans may be hard to follow.
Encourage creativity and innovation in your team through exercises such as brainstorming or prototyping. Let business lines explore new ideas based on the output of these exercises.
- Practice effective communication.
Distinguished leaders are able to clearly communicate with individuals, business units, the entire company, and to stakeholders outside the organization. Describe everything from organizational goals to specific tasks and objectives in succinct language.
Embrace enthusiasm, belief, creativity, and excitement when you communicate. Remember that listening is just as crucial to communicating as talking. Take the time to hear what others are expressing – and make note of what they are not. Ask follow-up inquiries if you don’t realize what they are trying to convey.
As an experienced technology professional, what would you like to advise the budding aspirants willing to enter the business world?
My two pieces of advice to the budding aspirants willing to enter the business world will be –
- Savor Surprises
First, nobody is a born entrepreneur or a leader. We all learn by making mistakes, and it’s being able to accept constructive criticism and feedback that’s key to helping your business to move forward and stay competitive.
Openness to feedback from customers can not only prevent leaders from managing their ventures astray but will also guide them to unforeseen opportunities.
- Hire Builders, Not Joiners
Beyond hiring for skills and perspectives that complement an existing team, focus on the importance of a builder mentality in hiring for a new Business Unit. You try to find old colleagues whom you have worked with and trust and those who know how to work. At some point, you will run out of these personal contacts, and you will need to look for ones who can join your team. You must find the right culture for your team.
How do you envision your journey with the Emerging Technologies and Intelligent Automation Solutions that are revolutionizing the business world by enabling innovations?
I have been working with setups that have been focused on experience-led digital transformation organizations delivering exceptionally engineered experiences for customers and employees across the globe. I have been driving intelligent automation across banking, financial services, insurance, healthcare, life sciences, retail, and CPG, by combining human-centered design with real-time analytics, AI, cognitive technology, and automation.
I have always been on the cusp of applying multiple emerging technologies such as BPM, RPA, IDP, AI/ML, and CX platforms to solve complex business problems.